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COVID-19 Solidarity Trial: PH Suspends Use of Hydroxychloroquine

Philippines halts the solidarity trial of hydroxychloroquine upon WHO’s advice.

Hydroxychloroquine is one of four drugs being administered in the WHO’s experimental treatments for the Solidarity Trial, in hopes of finding a cure for COVID-19.

The Department of Health (DOH) said that it will stop administering hydroxychloroquine in its clinical trials on COVID-19 patients, in accordance with the recommendation of the World Health Organization.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire made an announcement that the World Health Organization (WHO) has temporarily suspended the trial of Hydroxychloroquine as a drug to be used in the treatment of COVID-19.

“Of course, we follow WHO guidelines on this because this is a part of the WHO solidarity trial,” Vergeire said in a DOH forum with reporters, adding that a letter has been sent from her office which stated that the Philippines is exiting the trial.

While Vergeire said that “[w]e are stopping from giving this to our COVID-19 patients because of WHO’s advice,” the health official did not say what effects the recalled drug had on coronavirus patients.

WHO will first conduct a stop administering hydroxychloroquine safety review on the drug stating, “The review will consider data collected so far in the Solidarity Trial and in particular robust, randomized available data to adequately evaluate the potential benefits and harms from this drug hydroxychloroquine,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a press briefing.

Vergeire, meanwhile, said that it is still too early to reveal hydroxychloroquine’s effects in the clinical trials.

“With regard to the results [of administering it] on our patients, we are not allowed to reveal that yet as we are still in the clinical trial phase,” she said.

“But rest assured, we will first stop giving out the medicine because the WHO has recommended against it,” Vergeire added.

The Solidarity Trial initiative aims to evaluate the safety and efficacy of four drugs and drug combinations, including hydroxychloroquine, against COVID-19.

More than 400 hospitals in 35 countries are actively recruiting patients and so far nearly 3,500 patients from 17 countries have been enrolled.